ATHENS.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos held extensive talks at the Maximos Mansion on Sunday and reached a coincidence of views and agreement on further moves which are necessary to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union.
Karamanlis reiterated that the Greek government fully supports the efforts of the people of Cyprus for a European, workable and viable solution based on the Annan plan. He added that the two delegations agreed on the moves which must be made to enable Cyprus to join the EU united and for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to enjoy the fruits of the new European reality together.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the constructive position of the Republic of Cyprus will meet with a response from the other side.
He further said that the talks are continuing despite difficulties faced in the negotiations. He also reiterated that support for President Papadopoulos is a position which will not change or be questioned.
Asked whether ratification of the decision for a referendum by the Turkish National Assembly is necessary beforehand, Karamanlis said this is one of the points which must change. He also said the level at which the various sides will be represented in the quadripartite meeting has not yet been determined and is still being discussed.
Karamanlis expressed the view that the dimension of the security issue is very serious and that the good intention and the moderate stance displayed by President Papadopoulos is evident to all.
President Papadopoulos thanked the Greek government and characterised the fact that Athens is backing Nicosia in its difficult struggle with its wholehearted support as being very important.
”The target remains a viable and workable solution by May 1,” President Papadopoulos said, adding that the negotiations are difficult and expressed the hope that even at the 12th hour the position of the Greek Cypriot side will be appreciated and it will meet with the appropriate response.
President Papadopoulos said he has assurances that the position of the Greek Cypriot side is understandable. However, he added that it is very difficult for the UN to attribute responsibilities since it has the role of negotiator.
Asked why the Greek Cypriot side does not reveal its positions in public, in contrast to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, President Papadopoulos said he will fully brief the people of Cyprus when it will be necessary for him to do so.
”Mr. Denktash may have different pursuits. However, Nicosia attributes great seriousness to the process, it considers this stage to be crucial and for this reason it does not negotiate through the press,” he added.
Earlier, President Papadopoulos met with Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos. Later on in the afternoon, President Papadopoulos held successive meetings with the leaders of opposition parties, starting with the main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou and afterwards Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.